Elicera Therapeutics AB has entered a material transfer agreement with the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (JCLRI) in Spain for use of the iTANK platform in arming CAR T-cells for the treatment of Ewing Sarcoma.
Sweden’s Elicera is a clinical stage cell and gene therapy company developing next generation immuno-oncological treatments based on enhanced oncolytic viruses and CAR T-cells.
The agreement is the first for Elicera as part of its strategy of finding collaborators and licensing partners for iTANK.
Following an analysis of potentially efficient and safe targets for Ewing sarcoma, the JCLRI has hypothesized that the generation of CAR T-cells, armed with the iTANK platform and their ability to elicit a multi-targeted attack on solid tumors, can represent an efficacious and safe innovative approach for treatment of metastasized Ewing sarcoma.
Ewing sarcoma is a difficult to treat cancer indication characterized by ‘immunologically cold’ solid tumors containing an abundance of immunosuppressive cells.
“A central part of Elicera’s strategy for iTANK is entering into partnerships like this. With the first agreement in the books – and hopefully more to be established – we have achieved an important company milestone,” said Jamal El-Mosleh, CEO of Elicera.
“We are thrilled that iTANK’s potential to increase the efficacy of CAR T-cell therapies in solid tumors has caught the eye of highly respected research institutions like the JCLRI. Supporting research that gets us closer to an approved CAR T-cell therapy for use in solid tumors is important to us at Elicera. We look forward to supporting the JCLRI in their quest to identify an innovative treatment option for Ewing Sarcoma, whose difficult to treat solid tumors have given rise to an urgent demand for new therapeutic approaches.”
The agreement does not grant the JCLRI any intellectual property rights to the iTANK-platform, and any patentable inventions arising from the project shall become the joint property of Elicera and the JCLRI.
About the iTANK platform
The iTANK– (immunotherapies activated with NAP for efficient killing) platform is the company’s technology platform for arming and enhancing CAR T-cells to meet two of the major challenges CAR T-cell therapies face in the treatment of solid tumors: tumor antigen heterogeneity and a hostile tumor microenvironment.
The technology is used to incorporate a transgene into CAR T-cells encoding a neutrophil activating protein (NAP) from the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Upon activation, NAP secreted from the CAR(NAP) T-cells has been shown to be able to enhance the function of the CAR T-cell in addition to activating a parallel immune response via CD8+ killer T-cells.
This is expected to lead to a broad attack against most antigen targets on cancer cells. The iTANK-platform is used to enhance the company’s own CAR T-cells but can also be universally applied to other CAR T-cell therapies under development.